It passes down directly--from a father who grows up on a farm, who adds fish and squirrels and rabbits and venison to the farm-raised table fare of chickens and vegetables grown in a plot down by the barn and hogs butchered for bacon and pork chops and ribs and ham and roasts.
It is undeniably a thrill when young to wake up before dawn, perhaps fog shielding the familiar, knowing an adventure awaits. That it will end in taking life with the rod of a barrel or a rod and reel is last in the young to the thrill of holding fresh kill in the hands, a larger sense of self being peeked at, the adventure of fingertips finally touching for a moment some place of absolute control.
And it occurs to me that almost all those companions on those hunting and fishing trips are dead now, my father, my father's father, uncles on both sides, Mississippi cousins, brother-in-law Ricky, my brother Wayne. And those adventures begin to roll into one, certain moments from different trips with whomever (it doesn't matter) spotlighted for a moment then on to another adventure with someone else, all those images assuming more weight the more distance from them, repeating countless times while growing older.